The experts ... genuinely know many vital things
- But in thinking of global problems, they tend to think of national boundaries as impediments to solutions
- and national self-determination as being of value, as long as nations understand that there is a problem
- that they are unlikely to solve it or even understand it,
- and they are prepared to cede authority to the experts, the technocrats.
In Europe, which was the laboratory for this, there was an attempt to solve the problem
- National self-determination was guaranteed, but
- a complex political process with uncertain authority and little deference to the people governed
- Behind it a relatively small but powerful group of technocrats designed and redesigned the details of European life.
- It was a reasonable arrangement as long as it worked
But after it failed, it created 2 problems
A. The 1st problem with technocracy is its lost of moral authority to rule:
- its claim to the authority is expertise, but
- the proof of expertise is success.
- If the technocracy is seen as a failure,
- then the technocrats’ right to manage the systems is destroyed.
B. The 2nd problem with technocracy is its inability to handle a failure alone:
- that given the complexity of what has been created,
- even a failed technocracy can argue that it may not have done well,
- but it can understand the failure better than anyone else.
- And more likely, the claim will be made that it did not fail, but
- the remnants of nations, governments and uneducated people selecting these governments caused it to fail.
There are 2 questions facing us:
1. does the nation still constitute the framework of human life,
- and is representative democracy competent in managing the state?
2. is the theory of social and political expertise a myth?
- Are the technocrats competent to manage the complexity that the state has become?
This has become the fundamental issue of our time
- From the technocrats’ point of view, the idea that the nation should be the primary interest of the state
- is anachronistic and dangerous.
- Nationalist movements threaten the ability of experts to govern.
- From the standpoint of increasing numbers of voters,
- technocracy usurps the power vested in the people
- without being able to manage the system successfully.
This has also created a social divide
- The Euro-American educational system is constructed on the idea that management is at the center of success.
- The management of a government, a business, a hospital or a charity depends on expertise
- For their social position, the managers of society depend on the idea that they are indispensable to society:
--- They have an obligation to manage well, and
--- they have a right to rewards for good management.
- As such, this class manages everything from hedge funds to schools &
- it shares in common this sense of social obligation and rights.
But the people, excluded from the managerial class, are increasingly unhappy:
- they unprepared to concede that the technocrats of the managerial class have earned their benefits
- 2008 was important for many reasons, but chief among them - the question of:
- whether the claims of expertise & beneficial social consequences was simply a cover for avarice?
- Indeed, the argument against technocrats everywhere is that they lack the expertise they claim to have
- and their real end is to skew wealth in their favor.
Another argument against the technocrats is their arrogance:
- instead of increasing their modesty after their failure,
- they are increasing their claim to authority and
- working to eliminate the right to national self-determination
But the national self-determination derives from such fundamental moral principals as:
- the moral equality of all people, and
- the citizen’s human rights and self-interests
- It does not rest on an expertise:
--- that technocracy claims but
--- doesn’t clearly have or
--- use for the common good.
There is a clear divide of our time:
- One class (minorities) is appalled by the rise of nationalism.
- The other class (majority) is terrified that in stripping away the nation-state rights, they will be left helpless.
- This is not a frivolous argument.
- It rests directly at the heart of the Enlightenment and
- of the Euro-American search for balance between the representative democracy and expertise.
- On one side, the complexity of governance is beyond all our ability to grasp.
--- It must have technocrats.
- On the other, that complexity may be a threat to liberal democracy as first conceived.
This question is at the heart of many of our divisions
- and is being discussed daily
- even when people don’t realize they are discussing it.
- Technocrats are struggling with how to perfect the world.
- Citizens are struggling with how not to lose control over their lives.
- It is not just that they live different lives.
- It is that they live in different moral & economical universes.